Nutrition and Sustainability Seminar:
A long-term vision for effective strategies

The event took place on Tuesday, 12 November 2013, at FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy. 
For more information please click on the links below.  The summary report of the seminar can be downloaded 

  • Seminar agenda and presentations link
  • Seminar key outcomes pdf
  • News story (link) and the Twitter storify (link) developed by Bioversity International 
  • Video developped for the social media campaign Your FOOD, Your HEALTH, Your FUTURE link
  • Seminar pictures FAO Flickr
  • List of participants (pdf)
  • Seminar records in 

The Nutrition and Sustainability seminar discussed ways to improve the sustainability of countries' nutrition policies and programs and encourage partnerships to better link nutrition, health, climate change, biodiversity and ecosystems. 

It brought together scientists, policymakers, experts, students and practitioners to develop responses to countries' questions about "why?" and "how?" to link nutrition and sustainability, and to discuss the tradeoffs. 

The seminar was jointly organized by the UNSCN, Bioversity International, the Government of Malawi, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and sponsored by the Government of Flanders.

The keynote address has been given by Hans Herren, one of the world's leading experts on sustainable agriculture and winner of the 1995 World Food Prize and and the 2013 Right Livelihood Award.

Prof.Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Cornell University made reference to this seminar at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) Preparatory Technical Meeting. He insisted on not missing out sustainability issues in the efforts to incorporate nutrition sensitive approaches.

"The food security and sustainability workshop that was held prior to this Meeting generated much evidence that is useful to the ICN2. Since that [workshop] was not part of the ICN2 Technical Preparatory Meeting I'm not going to give a detailed summary of the sustainability meeting. Those summaries are available for those who would like to see them. But I would like to mention that if we fail to take into account the sustainability issues as we proceed to make the food and agricultural systems more nutrition sensitive or nutrition enhancing, we are missing the point. We really have to look at sustainability; we have to recognize that human health and ecological health go together. If we fail on the sustainability side we may be successful in the short run but not in the long run."  

                                                                                                                                                                    - Prof.Per Pinstrup-Andersen

Practical steps were stressed throughout the daylong seminar, including:
  • Case studies from countries and policies in development on sustainable diets/nutrition/climate change
  • Resource sharing such as books, events, networks about sustainable diets and food systems
  • Possible guidelines for the catering sector, a major player in food in many countries and their leadership could transform food systems
  • Different approaches to learn from and reach consumers and affect behavior change
  • Increased attention to diminishing biodiversity - as an ecosystem service but also a source of nutrition
  • Emphasis on gender strategies - recognizing that half of the world's farmers are women and that men and women have different nutritional needs and concerns
  • Movement beyond 'eat local' campaigns into more emphasis on how food was produced and transported and linking what is on the plate to better agricultural and health policies
  • Finland has examples of an environment passport for catering services in development, checklists for consumers, and projects that combine health and sustainability including climate-friendly lunches for catering
  • Insights from countries including Malawi, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Finland and Ireland on how they are dealing with sustainable agriculture and food systems

Media contact:
Lina Mahy
(+41) 227 913544

Connecting with the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) PReparatory Technical Meeting 

This seminar was building on the outcomes of previous conferences and consultations and responding to countries' request to exchange and learn from each other to ensure that national plans are sensitive to and have no or minimal negative effects to nutrition, climate change and ecosystems.